The Digital Transformation of the Chemical Industry: The Key Trends

Debashree Kabi | August 2, 2022 | 960 views | Read Time : 02:00 min

The Digital
From novel process technologies to sustainable plastics— the chemical industry is scaling up its digital initiatives. This has opened new doors for organizations to explore opportunities to increase efficiency and streamline the process.

Admittedly, the chemical industry has been a little slower in implementing digital transformation. But COVID-19 has vastly increased the momentum of digitization among chemical plants.

According to a KPMG survey, 96% of industry CEOs saw digital transformation accelerate in their organizations, with 48 percent saying it advanced by a few years. In addition, according to a recent Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC) survey, 82% of respondents agreed that the pandemic had "created a new sense of urgency" in driving investment in new technologies and digitalization.

Digital transformation solutions offer tremendous potential in the chemical sector. It can play a significant role in driving more value. So let's dig deeper and look at key technologies in bringing digital transformation to the chemical industry.


Circular Economy

Chemical manufacturers cannot exist within their own four walls any longer. They recognize the importance of working with their customers and other businesses and organizations to conserve resources and protect the environment. Chemical companies may source raw materials from recyclers as part of a circular economy, which necessitates fool proof solutions to confirm their quality and availability. Circular economy consortiums may advocate for reducing environmental threats such as ocean plastics or exposure to hazardous chemicals, opening up new avenues for innovation.
Customers are constantly looking for new ways to reduce waste and protect their ecosystems. For example, farmers may benefit from solutions that can instantly analyze soil quality, weather, and crops to determine the best products and schedule for applying fertilizers, crop protectants, or new seeds. Using this data, they use only what they need, generate less waste, and maximize output.


Error-Proof Operations

Chemical firms are also embracing technology to achieve operational excellence. They've discovered the benefits of using machine learning andIoT technologies to automate standard back-end processes. Technologies such as these reduce the need for human intervention — and thus the possibility of human error. Blockchain technology can also significantly reduce counterfeit chemicals' use, which is especially important for chemical manufacturers who supply products to the pharmaceutical or agricultural industries. In addition, blockchain technology can enable track-and-trace processes that require less work and waste while protecting the enterprise's reputation.


Staying Sharp in the Dynamic Market

Staying agile in an uncertain M&A environment is a top priority for some businesses. For example, chemical firms must be able to quickly divest assets, adjust portfolios, and adapt operations in response to market changes. Technology can provide executives with the visibility into operations, shipments, and market conditions required to make critical decisions and remain agile.


Data Analytics

The chemical industry is leveraging cloud-based storage systems to store and share confidential data anytime and anywhere. Additionally, data analytics solutions can analyze all the data effectively to provide valuable insights to the industry. This will help you make meaningful decisions in real-time.

Spotlight

Abunayyan Holding

Headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Abunayyan Holding is one of the longest-active companies in the power and water business, and has grown to accommodate +4,500 employees spread across its subsidiaries in the kingdom and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

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CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY

How Leading Chemical Companies Protect Customer Data Online

Article | June 11, 2021

Cybersecurity concerns must be considered in order for the chemical sector to succeed with digital commerce; simply listing your products on an online store and crossing your fingers won't cut it. It is crucial to pick a spouse who is aware of these hazards and has a strong defense in place. It is evident that the sector has massive potential for online sales, but selling chemicals online is different from selling common consumer goods online. Who your consumers are and how you gather and maintain data about them raise severe security and privacy problems. Chemical company leaders have every right to be concerned about the privacy of their data, given that one cyber attack occurs every 11 seconds. However, they should still go online because there is too much business risk in not taking advantage of the digital opportunity. Deloitte estimates that the chemical sector alone sold over $27 billion worth of goods online in 2020. More than half (58%) of chemical purchasers reportedly stated that they would transfer providers if their demands, which include demands for a fantastic digital experience, were not delivered. The objective is to limit risk and create a secure digital sales environment rather than dismissing e-commerce due to cybersecurity issues. Setting up the appropriate IT infrastructure: Building for convenience and security is possible thanks to new IT technologies. Emphasis on confirming identification: Always be aware of who you are dealing with, regardless of whether they came through a digital or physical means. Offering simple (and safe) reorder alternatives to clients that have been verified. It's ideal for business owners in the chemical sector who want to test selling online but are concerned about data collecting, security, and privacy for my company and customers.

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Future-Proofing the Chemical Industry with Digitalization

Article | June 21, 2021

Over the next five to seven years, the chemical sector will place a greater emphasis on sustainability, and digitization will play a significant part in this. Reducing resource use, pollution, energy consumption, and waste are some of its main applications. Additionally, it will increase demand for a circular economy supported by IoT, AI, and other digital technologies. Some of the systems now in place or being used in the sector include autonomous solutions that enable lower energy usage, dispatching systems for effective logistics and strategies for sustainable power and fuel consumption. Chemical players making the switch to digital platforms have a chance to triumph if they move swiftly and update their operational models in accordance with a few common success characteristics. In fact, according to our study, making the correct decisions can increase total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization by 3 percent or more (EBITDA). The Next Step of Operational Excellence The same level of transformation is available with digital technology for optimal performance, together with success-enabling measures. The same level of corporate participation and realignment will also be necessary for the effective implementation of digital technology. Finance and telecoms were early leaders in adopting digital technology faster than the chemical sector, which has just recently started to move in more significant numbers toward digitalization. A circular economy in the sector is also being enabled by the use and evaluation of digital technology. The "Right to Fix" movement is being driven by governments and legislators in Europe and the US, and small and medium-sized businesses in the industry are expected to invest in technology that makes it easier to repair electronic items with the least amount of waste. On a side note, by enabling the re-use of resources and products throughout the supply chain, digitalization with lean manufacturing (LM) would enable businesses to improve operational excellence and create value, thereby supporting the circular economy goal. Conclusion Given its extensive safety and regulatory requirements, the chemical sector has evolved slowly. However, as the global economy changes, some skills will become obsolete and others essential. The interconnectedness of people, processes, and technology, as well as the requirement for real-time insight at the levels closest to the action, are among the basic principles of Industry 4.0. These values have existed for some time and are an extension of our teams' current operational excellence initiatives. Digital transformation is not a technology endpoint but rather the following stage in the process and business evolution as the chemicals industry advances continuously.

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Key Trends in the Digital Transformation of the Chemical Industry

Article | July 20, 2022

The chemical business is intricate, with numerous sub-sectors dealing with various challenges. Thus, there are some differences in the sector's main areas of digitalization. For instance, while specialty chemicals with smaller batches but larger profit margins are concerned with improving quality, large factories are concentrated on accelerating throughput speed. To be able to react to quick and repeated changes in demand, supply, and working circumstances, however, every plant must optimize output, reduce waste, improve safety and sustainability, and become more nimble. Therefore, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing are expected to be the three most popular applications for digital transformation during the coming two years. Key Trends Production Optimization The first and most valuable use cases of digitalization in chemical plants center on production optimization through improved equipment performance, process automation, remote and predictive monitoring, and simplified maintenance. Chemical factories, which often provide basic chemicals for use as end products in other sectors, have a special responsibility to maintain consistently high product quality. However, doing so can be challenging given the significant variations in raw material supply and quality. In addition, as process engineers can change the mix on the fly in reaction to fluctuations in quality, feedstock, or ambient temperatures, better data and analytics enable finer and more frequent adjustments. Lowering Waste The main advantage of digitally transformed plants so far has been cost reduction. The price volatility of raw materials is a problem for the chemical production sector because customers naturally want constant low prices. Minimizing waste is critical since facilities must contend with rising energy costs. Analytics tools that monitor fluctuating raw material prices aid factories in negotiating the best deals with suppliers and preparing in advance for price spikes. The risk of oversupply is reduced since plants can prepare the proper quantities of various products thanks to more precise demand predictions. Sustainability, Compliance, and Safety The chemical industry is heavily regulated as a result of the quantity of hazardous chemicals and the number of end-use industries that rely on it. Businesses are adopting digital transformation to boost safety awareness, reduce emissions and dangerous flare incidents, and guarantee a transparent and accurate audit trail. Plants that quickly adopt digital solutions for remote monitoring, supply chain visibility, waste reduction, production optimization, raising their safety profile, and opening up new opportunities will profit from higher profits and increased revenue, whereas those that hesitate for too long risk failing in the long run.

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The Future of Supply Chain Management for Chemical Companies

Article | July 8, 2022

Individual consumers expect tailored products and services. Color, size, quantity, payment method, and delivery channel options abound. The chemical sector is also now following this suit of action. The global chemicals supply chain has grown steadily for three decades. Chemical businesses are improving their supply chain capabilities to handle complexity and meet client demands. This includes implementing advanced data-driven and cloud-based technologies that enable faster, more flexible, and tailored customer interactions. Areas of innovation for chemical companies Living Segmentation Living segmentation can help chemical businesses better serve clients and satisfy their expectations. This entails adapting supply chain capabilities to each customer's needs. Asset-light Network An asset-light network involves developing an ecosystem of partners to add capabilities and value to your supply chain beyond standard co-manufacturing, co-packing, and third-party or last-mile logistics providers. In addition, it should include technology partners that help chemical businesses innovate and be adaptable. Data and Applied Intelligence Improving speed, agility, and efficiency in global supply chains demands comprehensive visibility and the correct information. Data provides visibility and insights. The key to providing excellent customer service is gathering the appropriate data and using it strategically to get important insight. The industry generates a ton of data, which is excellent news. In response to last year's supply chain delays, corporations are building supply chains with geographically spread shipping/supplier choices. Real-time visibility and enhanced analytics can be used to track delays by providing revised ETAs and analyzing downstream implications. Data-driven insights can alert organizations of a delay almost immediately and help them acquire raw materials from another supplier to reduce the domino impact downstream. Chemical businesses must rethink their supply chains to implement living segmentation, asset-light networks, data, and AI.

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Abunayyan Holding

Headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Abunayyan Holding is one of the longest-active companies in the power and water business, and has grown to accommodate +4,500 employees spread across its subsidiaries in the kingdom and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

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X2F and Covestro Launch New Collaboration on Innovative In-Mold Electronics for Automotive Lighting

X2F and Covestro | September 27, 2022

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Interzero and Eastman Reach Long-Term Supply Agreement for Planned Molecular Recycling Facility in France

Eastman | September 26, 2022

Interzero and Eastman announced a long-term supply agreement for Eastman's previously announced molecular recycling facility in Normandy, France. Interzero will provide up to 20,000 metric tonnes per year of hard-to-recycle PET household packaging waste that would otherwise be incinerated. Interzero Plastics Recycling, as part of Interzero, is an innovation leader in plastics recycling with the largest sorting capacity in Europe and many years of experience. Headquartered in Germany, Interzero is a leading service provider of circular solutions in Europe and is strongly connected to its sister company ALBA Group ASIA both led by Chairman and Shareholder, Dr. Axel Schweitzer. Eastman's planned molecular recycling facility in France will become the world's largest material-to-material molecular recycling plant. Once complete, the facility will recycle approximately 160,000 tonnes of hard-to-recycle polyester waste annually. The project is expected to be operational in 2025. "Eastman is a leader in molecular recycling with decades of innovation expertise. Joining forces by combining the leading know how of Eastman and Interzero is the next step in closing the loop with our partners and a step closer towards a world without waste. The world is facing a plastic waste crisis with far too little plastic waste being recycled, either from lack of collection or because it simply cannot be recycled by traditional methods. Eastman's innovative process and this agreement bring a solution to this." Jacco de Haas, chief commercial officer at Interzero Plastics Recycling Chemical recycling is a necessary complement to mechanical recycling to keep more raw materials in the loop. Both companies are committed to creating material circularity. Eastman's facility in France will process colored and opaque PET waste that cannot be recycled mechanically to create clear and transparent rPET upon completion. "Interzero and Eastman are committed to reducing plastic waste and creating circularity through collaboration and innovation," said Brad Lich, Eastman executive vice president and chief commercial officer. "This agreement marks an important milestone towards Eastman's investment in France. We are happy to build a strong collaboration in Europe with Interzero to provide a portion of the feedstock needed to successfully operate our facility. The collaboration reinforces the complementary nature of mechanical and molecular recycling, and the importance of working together to create true circularity." Eastman's proven polyester renewal technology provides true circularity for hard-to-recycle plastic waste that remains in a linear economy today. This material is typically incinerated because it either cannot be mechanically recycled or must be downcycled using existing technology. Eastman's chemical recycling technology allows this hard-to-recycle waste to be broken down into its molecular building blocks and then reassembled to become first-quality material without any compromise in performance. Eastman's polyester renewal technology enables the potentially infinite value of materials by keeping them in production, lifecycle after lifecycle. With the technology's inherent efficiencies and the renewable energy sources available in France, materials can be produced with significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional methods. About Interzero Interzero is an innovation leader in plastics recycling with the largest sorting capacity in Europe and one of the leading environmental service providers in the field of closing product, material, and logistics cycles. Under the guiding principle of "zero waste solutions", the company advises over 20,000 customers throughout Europe on the responsible handling of recyclable materials, thus helping them to improve their own sustainability performance and conserve primary resources. With about 2,000 employees, the company achieves a turnover of over one billion euros (2021). In 2020 alone Interzero saved 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases compared to primary production and at the same time 12.3 million tonnes of primary raw materials through its recycling activities. About Eastman Founded in 1920, Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. The company's innovation-driven growth model takes advantage of world-class technology platforms, deep customer engagement, and differentiated application development to grow its leading positions in attractive end markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. As a globally inclusive and diverse company, Eastman employs approximately 14,000 people around the world and serves customers in more than 100 countries. The company had 2021 revenues of approximately $10.5 billion and is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA. In Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Eastman employs approximately 2100 and is present in 10 countries. EMEA accounted for 26 percent of Eastman's total sales revenue in 2021.

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Chromatic Announces Breakthrough Smooth-Mode Technology for Ultra-Smooth 3D-Printed Rubber Parts

Chromatic 3D Materials | September 22, 2022

Chromatic 3D Materials, a 3D-printing technology provider, has developed breakthrough Smooth-Mode technology for 3D printing of durable rubber parts with ultra-smooth surfaces at commercial volumes. Now, industrial manufacturers can 3D print smooth, high-quality polyurethane parts, such as seals, gaskets, grommets, bladders and other elastomeric products, with no post processing or surface finishing. "Sealing requires a smooth surface, but 3D-printed parts have always had layer lines or roughness. We have developed a way to easily and cost-effectively 3D print products that are ultra-smooth without additional steps. It's a breakthrough for 3D printing those professional applications that must be airtight and watertight," Dr. Cora Leibig, Chromatic CEO and founder Parts printed with Smooth-Mode technology have superior aesthetics as well as finer dimensional accuracy. For example, products can be printed with precise uniform thickness at submillimeter scale. Thus, the new technology is suitable for manufacturing rubber bladders and other elastomeric products that expand and contract. Chromatic's team of additive manufacturing experts first achieved ultra-smooth prints by fine-tuning the viscosity and surface tension of the company's printable thermoset polyurethane materials. "We developed a way to go beyond simply applying our reaction technology to FDM printing. Smooth-Mode uses chemistry to create an ultra-bonded and smooth part. We believe this printing technique delivers the world's smoothest printing along the Z, or height, axis," explained Dr. Bart Engendahl, Chromatic's managing director in Germany. Industrial manufacturers can take advantage of Smooth-Mode with Chromatic's RX-AM™ materials and technology platform. A 3-in-1 platform, RX-AM™ includes materials, software and hardware for deposition printing with reactive chemistry. RX-AM™, or Reactive Extrusion Additive Manufacturing, uses printable polyurethanes with Shore A hardness ranging from 50 to 90 as well as custom grades with varying colors, hardnesses and special properties. The platform is designed for printing commercial volumes. About Chromatic 3D Materials Chromatic 3D Materials is a 3D-printing technology company focused on more flexible, cost-effective and sustainable manufacturing of industrial-strength elastomeric products. Its portfolio includes printable polyurethanes and other thermoset elastomers for applications in transportation, industrial seals and gaskets, textiles, medical devices and defense. Chromatic's RX-AM™ materials and technology platform is based on Reactive Extrusion Additive Manufacturing, a type of deposition 3D printing that uses chemical reactions. Founded in 2016 by CEO Dr. Cora Leibig, Chromatic now has facilities in the US and Germany.

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X2F and Covestro Launch New Collaboration on Innovative In-Mold Electronics for Automotive Lighting

X2F and Covestro | September 27, 2022

X2F announced that it has joined a unique collaboration with Covestro, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials, to develop a thermally conductive automotive heat-sink with in-mold electronics using X2F’s transformative controlled viscosity molding technology. Application samples will be displayed at Covestro’s booth (Hall 6/A75-1/A75-2) during the K 2022 exhibition Oct. 19-26, in Düsseldorf, Germany. This new product will be a unique alternative for automotive OEMs and processors who seek a replacement for cast aluminium heat-sinks that is both lighter and more affordable. The new heat-sink molded of Makrolon® polycarbonate is approximately half as heavy as the typical aluminum part. It is part of an in-mold assembly that can be used to integrate LED modules directly into the headlamp housing – eliminating the weight and labor associated with the installation of brackets, screws, thermal pastes, and adhesives. The X2F technology is production-ready and has been demonstrated in high-volume series manufacturing for other applications. Covestro continues to pioneer the use of in-mold electronics (IME) coupled with the heat management that Makrolon® TC polycarbonate provides. “This new program involves using controlled viscosity molding by X2F to attach the LED module directly onto the thermally conductive heat-sink without fundamentally changing the heat-sink adjuster module design. We are pleased with the outcome so far of the X2F project where we have recently seen enhanced thermal management performance compared to traditional injection-molded processes, and look forward to how the automotive industry will adopt the technology.,” Paul Platte, Senior Marketing Manager, Covestro LLC X2F’s process enables sensitive electronics to be insert molded, thus providing functional integration, heat management, modularity, and miniaturization. “This innovative technology enables the manufacture of previously impossible-to-mold thermoplastic parts that provide step-change improvements for our customers. In the case of heat-sinks, it dramatically streamlines production, reduces manufacturing times, eliminates fasteners and pastes, and increases product design flexibility,” said Reza Garaee, senior project manager for X2F. “This can be a game-changer for OEMs, and we’re thrilled to launch this new collaboration with Covestro.” X2F’s ability to mold thermally conductive materials has applications far beyond heat-sinks. Thermal management is critical for superior performance in batteries, motors, and printed circuit board applications. The X2F controlled viscosity, low-pressure molding approach allows highly filled materials to be molded that are not possible with other manufacturing approaches. The result is 30-200% improvement in performance depending on the application and materials used. X2F recently added a rotary table which reduces cycle times and opens up higher-volume production for its controlled viscosity molding machine. The rotary table enables X2F to reach production volumes of up to four million parts per year with one unit, depending on the cycle time, for the manufacture of critical components in the electronics, automotive, industrial, and medical industries. About Covestro Covestro LLC is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself. Makrolon® is a registered trademark of Covestro Group. The company is committed to becoming fully circular and aims to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of around EUR 15.9 billion in fiscal 2021. At the end of 2021, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 17,900 people. About X2F X2F, based in Loveland, Colo., is commercializing a new category of molding technology that leverages controlled viscosity and a patented pulse-packing approach to create high-value components for a variety of industries. X2F’s process uses advanced materials previously thought impossible to mold and achieves complex product geometries with improved operational efficiencies. The technology creates entirely new paradigms in product design, tooling, and material science for molded parts.

Read More

CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Interzero and Eastman Reach Long-Term Supply Agreement for Planned Molecular Recycling Facility in France

Eastman | September 26, 2022

Interzero and Eastman announced a long-term supply agreement for Eastman's previously announced molecular recycling facility in Normandy, France. Interzero will provide up to 20,000 metric tonnes per year of hard-to-recycle PET household packaging waste that would otherwise be incinerated. Interzero Plastics Recycling, as part of Interzero, is an innovation leader in plastics recycling with the largest sorting capacity in Europe and many years of experience. Headquartered in Germany, Interzero is a leading service provider of circular solutions in Europe and is strongly connected to its sister company ALBA Group ASIA both led by Chairman and Shareholder, Dr. Axel Schweitzer. Eastman's planned molecular recycling facility in France will become the world's largest material-to-material molecular recycling plant. Once complete, the facility will recycle approximately 160,000 tonnes of hard-to-recycle polyester waste annually. The project is expected to be operational in 2025. "Eastman is a leader in molecular recycling with decades of innovation expertise. Joining forces by combining the leading know how of Eastman and Interzero is the next step in closing the loop with our partners and a step closer towards a world without waste. The world is facing a plastic waste crisis with far too little plastic waste being recycled, either from lack of collection or because it simply cannot be recycled by traditional methods. Eastman's innovative process and this agreement bring a solution to this." Jacco de Haas, chief commercial officer at Interzero Plastics Recycling Chemical recycling is a necessary complement to mechanical recycling to keep more raw materials in the loop. Both companies are committed to creating material circularity. Eastman's facility in France will process colored and opaque PET waste that cannot be recycled mechanically to create clear and transparent rPET upon completion. "Interzero and Eastman are committed to reducing plastic waste and creating circularity through collaboration and innovation," said Brad Lich, Eastman executive vice president and chief commercial officer. "This agreement marks an important milestone towards Eastman's investment in France. We are happy to build a strong collaboration in Europe with Interzero to provide a portion of the feedstock needed to successfully operate our facility. The collaboration reinforces the complementary nature of mechanical and molecular recycling, and the importance of working together to create true circularity." Eastman's proven polyester renewal technology provides true circularity for hard-to-recycle plastic waste that remains in a linear economy today. This material is typically incinerated because it either cannot be mechanically recycled or must be downcycled using existing technology. Eastman's chemical recycling technology allows this hard-to-recycle waste to be broken down into its molecular building blocks and then reassembled to become first-quality material without any compromise in performance. Eastman's polyester renewal technology enables the potentially infinite value of materials by keeping them in production, lifecycle after lifecycle. With the technology's inherent efficiencies and the renewable energy sources available in France, materials can be produced with significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional methods. About Interzero Interzero is an innovation leader in plastics recycling with the largest sorting capacity in Europe and one of the leading environmental service providers in the field of closing product, material, and logistics cycles. Under the guiding principle of "zero waste solutions", the company advises over 20,000 customers throughout Europe on the responsible handling of recyclable materials, thus helping them to improve their own sustainability performance and conserve primary resources. With about 2,000 employees, the company achieves a turnover of over one billion euros (2021). In 2020 alone Interzero saved 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases compared to primary production and at the same time 12.3 million tonnes of primary raw materials through its recycling activities. About Eastman Founded in 1920, Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. The company's innovation-driven growth model takes advantage of world-class technology platforms, deep customer engagement, and differentiated application development to grow its leading positions in attractive end markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. As a globally inclusive and diverse company, Eastman employs approximately 14,000 people around the world and serves customers in more than 100 countries. The company had 2021 revenues of approximately $10.5 billion and is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA. In Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Eastman employs approximately 2100 and is present in 10 countries. EMEA accounted for 26 percent of Eastman's total sales revenue in 2021.

Read More

CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Chromatic Announces Breakthrough Smooth-Mode Technology for Ultra-Smooth 3D-Printed Rubber Parts

Chromatic 3D Materials | September 22, 2022

Chromatic 3D Materials, a 3D-printing technology provider, has developed breakthrough Smooth-Mode technology for 3D printing of durable rubber parts with ultra-smooth surfaces at commercial volumes. Now, industrial manufacturers can 3D print smooth, high-quality polyurethane parts, such as seals, gaskets, grommets, bladders and other elastomeric products, with no post processing or surface finishing. "Sealing requires a smooth surface, but 3D-printed parts have always had layer lines or roughness. We have developed a way to easily and cost-effectively 3D print products that are ultra-smooth without additional steps. It's a breakthrough for 3D printing those professional applications that must be airtight and watertight," Dr. Cora Leibig, Chromatic CEO and founder Parts printed with Smooth-Mode technology have superior aesthetics as well as finer dimensional accuracy. For example, products can be printed with precise uniform thickness at submillimeter scale. Thus, the new technology is suitable for manufacturing rubber bladders and other elastomeric products that expand and contract. Chromatic's team of additive manufacturing experts first achieved ultra-smooth prints by fine-tuning the viscosity and surface tension of the company's printable thermoset polyurethane materials. "We developed a way to go beyond simply applying our reaction technology to FDM printing. Smooth-Mode uses chemistry to create an ultra-bonded and smooth part. We believe this printing technique delivers the world's smoothest printing along the Z, or height, axis," explained Dr. Bart Engendahl, Chromatic's managing director in Germany. Industrial manufacturers can take advantage of Smooth-Mode with Chromatic's RX-AM™ materials and technology platform. A 3-in-1 platform, RX-AM™ includes materials, software and hardware for deposition printing with reactive chemistry. RX-AM™, or Reactive Extrusion Additive Manufacturing, uses printable polyurethanes with Shore A hardness ranging from 50 to 90 as well as custom grades with varying colors, hardnesses and special properties. The platform is designed for printing commercial volumes. About Chromatic 3D Materials Chromatic 3D Materials is a 3D-printing technology company focused on more flexible, cost-effective and sustainable manufacturing of industrial-strength elastomeric products. Its portfolio includes printable polyurethanes and other thermoset elastomers for applications in transportation, industrial seals and gaskets, textiles, medical devices and defense. Chromatic's RX-AM™ materials and technology platform is based on Reactive Extrusion Additive Manufacturing, a type of deposition 3D printing that uses chemical reactions. Founded in 2016 by CEO Dr. Cora Leibig, Chromatic now has facilities in the US and Germany.

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